30 November 2018
We arrived at Leamington Assembly just in time to see the Rising Souls end their set, but they were on at a silly time sometime after 6pm on a Friday evening so we weren’t the only ones as the hall was half empty, speaking to the people who saw them they went down a storm.
Main support of the night was The Myke Gray Band, Myke himself former guitarist with Skin and Jagged Edge, has got together a new band Adam Wardle guitar, Chris Norris bass, and Mathew Blakout drums including a certain young lady called Kim Jennett as the lead vocalist and Myke is quite happy to step back and let her do her breath-taking performance every time.
From the minute she steps on stage she never stops moving, shaking her snakelike hips, jumping around gesturing to the crowd, and within minutes has them in the palm of her hands, but its not about her movements this is all about her voice, this lady is a star in the making with amazing vocals that set the hairs on the back of your neck going.
Starting with the aptly titled Infinite Power: this is exactly what Kim has, an unbelievable energy that has the audience mesmerised, she had them hand clapping and singing all through their set, along with some great tub thumping from ex Tigertailz drummer Mathew, great bass lines coming from Chris, and some brilliant dual guitar work from Adam and Myke, this band are a must see.
Along with Myke’s excellent solos, brilliant shredding, and some great guitar faces he pulls whilst playing, Kim jumps into the pit twice during the set and shakes hands and high fives the people in the crowd, and on Take Me Down To The River she really showcased her vocal power and range to the max. I heard someone in the crowd say after I usually look at the guitarist in a band but I couldn’t take my eyes off the singer, and I promise you, you won’t be able to either.
Black Star Riders is the continuation of the Thin Lizzy Story, after Phil Lynott’s tragic death they continued for a while to tour under the original name playing all the classic Lizzy tunes with various line ups, but in 2010 when they had enough material of their own and out of respect for Phil and the legacy he created Scott decided to change the name of the band and the Black Star Riders were born. Now with three albums under their belt and another due next year they have more than enough material to satisfy both old and new fans.
Forever touring and keeping the Lizzy sound alive the band are Ricky Warwick lead Vox and guitars, Damon Johnson guitar, the legend himself Scott Gorham guitar, Robert Crane bass, and Chad Szeliga drums. In a now packed out Assembly Hall Ricky, who at times has a very similar voice to Phil’s with his Irish brogue, and the band started the set with two songs from their debut album All Hell Breaks Loose, Bloodshot and the title song, then into the classic Thin Lizzy song Jailbreak which had the audience singing along. A change of tempo next where Ricky announces they’re going to play a folk-rock song Soldierstown, as he’s a cool kind of folk-rock guy.
The title track from their second album Killer Instinct next with more singing and clapping from the crowd, followed by Charlie I Gotta Go with Ricky sticking his tongue out to the audience and getting them to join in once again. No hanging around and Heavy Fire, the song from their third award winning album of the same name and some great multi guitar work from everyone, where Ricky steps back in the shadows to let them do their stuff. Their ninety-minute set seemed to fly by playing songs from all three albums the two big anthemic songs Bound for Glory and Finest Hour had the biggest crowd reactions of the night going wild: jumping clapping and loving every moment, with the brilliant drum rolls from Chad keeping the hand clapping going.
The Riders don’t play a lot of the old Thin Lizzy songs now, preferring to play more of their new material but before they ended Ricky announced that Damon Johnson would be leaving at the end of the year to go onto other things, to a thunderous applause he took the microphone and thanked all the band especially Ricky who had done so much for him over his six years with the band. I understand that Damon’s replacement is going to be Stone Sours Christian Mariucci.
Onto the final song of the night the familiar guitar intro immediately had the crowd roaring at the top of their voices and Whisky in The Jar, the all-time Thin Lizzy favourite started and I think everyone in the audience joined in. Scott’s face said it all when he looked at them and Ricky thanked everyone for turning up and said “It’s easy for us to rock up here but you are the people who make it happen for us”. Great words from a great frontman, and a great band. I look forward to the new album.
Review by Dave Martin & pics by Carol Henson aka LadyGigger
Originally posted on Jace Media